A patient knows he has a quadriceps tear after he is examined by a doctor, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The doctor checks to see if the front of the thigh, where the muscle is located, is tender or bruised, and asks the patient to try and bend or straighten his leg. This examination allows the doctor to make his diagnosis.
Before this, the patient who suffers a quadriceps strain feels the muscle snap or pop as it tears, according to American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The resulting pain is sudden and severe. The thigh is tender and might be bruised if blood vessels are also involved. People who indulge in sports such as football, soccer or basketball where they must run and change direction quickly are more at risk for quadriceps strains and other injuries to the thigh muscles.
A person who believes he has suffered a quadriceps tear needs to stop the activity and apply the RICE method, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. This means rest, ice, compress and elevate. Ice should not be placed directly on the injured area, but ice packs should be applied a few times a day. Compression means that the thigh can be wrapped in an ace bandage, and the thigh should also be elevated higher than the patient's heart.